Boatwif Blog

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High winds on the High Peak

So, after last year’s disruptions (the breach on the canal at Middlewich, the water shortages that closed Bosley locks), it seemed timely  to cruise along all of the Macclesfield Canal from end to end. Once past Victoria Pit Moorings at Higher Poynton it’s about another five miles to the end of the Macc, where it meets the Peak Forest Canal at Marple. Onwards Cleddau cruised then, past many moored boats, past the Man Shed like no other (at Bridge 13),...

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For the record…

So there Cleddau was, at the bottom of Bosley Locks   on a Tuesday morning.     A volunteer lock keeper was hovering at Lock 12, keen that no water should be moved since he had set locks 11 and 12 for a down-coming boat. Pause. Wait. Then action – and all went well for quite a while.The lock keeper disappeared back up the hill, setting locks for this ascending boat. Somewhere between lock 6   and lock 5 there was a lengthy...

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Pottering on…

Onwards along and – up – the Trent and Mersey Canal. The four Meaford locks to the north of Stone are close together and a joy to work. It was a Saturday morning and the cycling tribes were all out and on their bikes. One tribe is Local Lads, always male, sometimes young teenagers, sometimes chaps who are friends. You don’t see cycling helmets being worn by them. Then there are the Families, young riders being urged to keep up...

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Swanning about in South Staffordshire

With Cleddau’s winter mooring period at Aston Marina coming to an end the exit had to be planned. First, what to do about the car…? With permission granted to leave it up at Victoria Pit in north Cheshire there was the business to arrange of getting the crew back to south Staffordshire. Cheshire Mum came up with a solution. “One of us can drive you back on Saturday afternoon – it’s Open Morning at Macc Music Centre before that if...

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Canals new to the Cleddau crew

Memories of early schooldays are at best patchy, perhaps disjointed. They do not necessarily follow a chronological sequence but surface, inspired by a chance remark or image, before melting back into a blurry past… From primary school days there are recollections of singing Morning has broken down in ‘The Hut’, led by the headmaster, snowy-haired and kindly Mr Jones, and of playground grit embedded in cut knees and of boys who were loud and cheeky to the teacher…  Lessons were...

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Boats Ancient and Modern

There was a day trip to London – the Cheshire One on half-term break wanted to see Cleopatra’s Needle. So, research done, it was decided to take a train to Blackfriars and from there to walk along the Embankment. What a glorious setting is Blackfriars Station:  it’s perched midway across the Blackfriars Railway Bridge, right above the Thames. Gasp. Below – a couple of craft were moving on the river     and the mind was cast back to Cleddau’s own...

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Miles and miles and miles

Miles, many miles, have passed under tyre wheels since the last Boatwif report. Back then, breathless and jet-lagged at the end of November, there had been an estimate of 820 road miles over about 19 days travelled throughout Southern California. That followed a calculation of 820 sea, river and canal Cleddau miles, between April and October of last year. And since early December there’s been more gobbling of road miles – to Kent for a surprise 70th birthday party,   ...

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Final snapshots

When a good trip draws to an end the head fills with visual memories, each a reminder of more than the picture itself… This was the rear of a fire truck returning to a San Marcos fire house.  During a previous stay (October 2007) Cal Son’s San Marcos neighbourhood spent four long days on notice of likely evacuation. The fires burned down one ridge line and along another. Their neighbourhood valley escaped fire while others didn’t. At the high school...

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

On the Friday before Thanksgiving Break Cal Guy Jnr’s class went on a field trip to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, about a 25 minute drive west towards the coast. He’d enjoyed it – and asked to go back. The museum galleries are on the ground floor of the global headquarters of NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants.   Instruments made and sold since 1900 are on display: phonographs,    organs,    accordions, pianos, wind and stringed instruments,    ...

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Out and About

You can almost get confused out here as to which season it is – is it Thanksgiving?   or Christmas?   (Photos taken on the same day, same store). The roadside pumpkin selling patch has now restocked with Fresh standing in water Christmas trees… and on Black Friday there was a cheer at the first sighting of a large Christmas tree lashed to the roof of a saloon car… At the Carlsbad Outlet Mall last week (November 13th) the central Christmas tree...